Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

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Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby Bridie » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:48 pm

Maybe there's another thread but it alludes me after searching high and low.

On the second floor of the Provands Lordship one of the walls is given over to pictures and stories of Glasgow street characters over the centuries. One of them that springs to mind was the poor man who had no legs and would use a piece of wood on wheels to push his way up and down Argyle St begging for food.

However a bit later and in my day there was a mother and daughter who lived around the Cowcaddens/ Charing X area who would go about their business dressed in Victorian-style clothes. The daughter in particular wore what looked like a faded wedding dress. The story being that her fiancée was killed in the war and she never got over it - big time.
It was Cowcaddens version of Miss Havisham.
Anyone remember this?
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby moonbeam » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:51 pm

No. I don't remember the two ladies. But I remember the gentleman who sold I think some sort of " African ! snake oil" that cured everything at the Barras. He was "sort of" famous or infamous. I recall he used to do a sort of war type dance as he gave his sales pitch. Then there was a guy usually in Gordon Street but I also recall him in Sauchiehall Street who played a tin whistle. Also a man dressed in a sort of uniform walking up and down banging a drum. I seem to recall him in the Partick area. There was a street singer years ago -I was told he was an ex opera singer who took to the demon drink- who stood in Royal Exchange Square and used the arches and alley next the Rogano to "sort of" enhance his very striking singing voice. Sometimes he was at the next alley up after the Rogano got him moved! I have not seen anyone else do this "trick" for some time. Then there was a "sort of" two or three piece "Band?" who played badly to the cinema queues. That would be mid 1950S ?
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby neilmc » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:25 pm

Bridie wrote:However a bit later and in my day there was a mother and daughter who lived around the Cowcaddens/ Charing X area who would go about their business dressed in Victorian-style clothes. The daughter in particular wore what looked like a faded wedding dress. The story being that her fiancée was killed in the war and she never got over it - big time.
It was Cowcaddens version of Miss Havisham.
Anyone remember this?


In the mid-1960s I remember my dad pointing out two ladies, as described, from the cab of his lorry, carrying parasol-type umbrellas, walking around the Trongate/Stockwell Street area.

When I mentioned this to him years later, he said he used to see them all the time (he was a delivery driver in the city centre), and that they "lived in a world of their own". I wonder if he knew the sad story behind their eccentricity?
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby Bridie » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:22 pm

Wish I knew the whole story about them too.
My grandmother knew about them as she lived in that area but I forgot what she told me. I'll ask my mother, she's 87 and loves talking about her memories and I'm now at the age where I'm paying attention. ::):

As they say everyone has a story and some of the "characters" about Glasgow must have a good few of them.
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby Bridie » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:25 pm

Wish there were pictures of some of the people mentioned so far.
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby Wee Harry » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:19 pm

God bless them cities need wonderful characters, theres a story waiting to be told or maybe even a film making
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby Bridie » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:12 pm

I would often see a woman walking along Sauchiehall St in the 1960's wearing men's clothes and smoking a cigar. Quite an unusual sight in those days. Her name was Nell Todd and related to the Todd family of the leather goods store Reid &Todd.
A"Nell Todd" has a mention in Alasdair Gray's book Poor Things

"Nell Todd a courageous Sapphist"
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby moonbeam » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:23 pm

Nell Todd was fairly well known! My sister worked in M&S and Nell came to get clothes in the gents section. There was a disagreement amongst the staff male/female as to who should supervise her in the changing room trying on men's trousers! My sister also recals an incident as she tried on men's pajamas and insisted a young lady assist her.
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Re: Glasgow Street Characters Old and New

Postby Bridie » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:56 pm

She lived in St Vincent Street something I only found out last night would you believe. :D

I live in a small town in Ireland and a friend of mine who lives here is also from Glasgow ( the only two in the village) she's Italian and her father had a cafe in St Vincent St in the 50's/60's. We chewed the fat last night talking about Glasgow.
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